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The Necessary Principles That First-Time Real Estate Investors Can Learn From Industry Experts

 Hong Kong
- first time real estate investment

Do you dream of investing in real estate properties and building a real estate portfolio that will pave the road to your financial freedom? You are on the right track if you have started toying with the idea of becoming a real estate investor. Having a successful real estate portfolio can help you create a more enjoyable and steady lifestyle (if you are equipped with the proper tools!) - real estate investment to a certain degree can be considered a source of passive income in securing for your future. You're probably thinking, “well that's all great in theory but I don't know how and where to even start! I've never done it before and I just don't know if I can…"

Here's the thing, you aren't alone. Like so many others out there, you have probably never invested in real estate before and that's why you are here. The most important thing now is that you have made the decision to start finding out more. There are so many people out there who are in the exact same position as you. They know that they want to get in to real estate investment but they don't know how. 

Real estate has produced many of the world's wealthiest people, so there are plenty of excellent reasons why you also believe that real estate is a sound investment for you. However, like any investment in any market, it's always best to be full knowledgeable and well-versed in the space you want to get in to before you dive head-in first. Unlike other investment opportunities, real estate investment comes with a whole lot of zeros. You could easily pour in six-figure sums in to your property investments and these are not small numbers. This is why it's so crucial to arm yourself with as much sound information as you can before starting your dream career as a real estate persona. 

The world of real estate investing is full of ups and down, much like that market. When you become a player in the real estate game, you have to be ready to adapt to any given situation. There's a lot to learn and it's an ever-evolving process of knowledge attainment. Just when you think you have one thing figure out, you will be hit with the realisation that there's even more below the surface level. Curved balls will continuously be thrown in your face. You'll have to know when to hit, duck and catch at the right times. So the million dollar question is this: 

How do you invest in to real estate property with confidence, without risking everything on the line?

It's a scary world. We don't want to frighten you, but that's the reality. But here's the silver lining. It's only scary when you don't know how to deal with the problems thrown at you. Life is not easy. Neither is real estate. Or Investment. That's why so many people want to do it, because as great as the risks can be, the rewards can be gigantic. The rate of your success or failure all comes down to knowing what you're going to do before you find yourself in a given situation. If you have the tools and weapons at your disposal, you will already know innately how to respond to it when you find yourself in any specific situation. This allows you to behave objectively and rationally. This prevents you from relying on your emotions and flailing under pressure. 

If you're just beginning to dabble in real estate investing, you'll find that there's A LOT to learn. Real estate investment is more complicating in many ways than investing in stocks because of the financial, legal and extensive due diligence requirements involved. That's why it's suggested that you give yourself a good solid education intensive before you purchase your first investment property.

In the world of real estate investment, there are so many rules, tricks, loopholes, fundamentals and more. There are a thousand ways to implement each strategy. Each strategy could lead to success or failure depending on how you play your cards. Throw in timing, chance and luck, you have yourself a fairly big gamble. In any industry, any market, any game - there's always rules and principles that you should abide by if you want to win. If you want to have the highest rate of success in real estate investing, there are also certain principles that you can follow to ensure a win over a loss. Although there's no miracle formula, there are guidelines on how best not to fail. Real estate investing is no different. Veteran real estate investors and professionals have all acquired special knowledge of their niche market over the years through experience, trial and error. Want to get in on the inside scoop of some trade-secret real estate tips? Read on with us. 

We have come up with a list of insider secrets and tips that any new real estate investor definitely need to know before getting started. Here goes.

You Can Make Your Money Also When You Buy

Have you heard of Appreciation? If not, you'd better start hitting your resources hard. Appreciation is one of the most common and talked about source of real estate profit in property investment. Appreciation is essentially - the increase in the value - of the property in question. Chances are you have heard of this concept before, but it can be hard to grasp if you have little to no experience. The concept here is that you actually make your money when you buy property, as opposed to what most people think - that you make your money when you sell or renovate a property. Real estate property appreciates over time, and you're going to make your money when you buy at a low price. You should never spend more than you think a property is worth. It's all about cash-flow at the end of the day. You want to put in the least but take out the most. It's the same concept with any sort of investment. The idea is to exert the least input to reap the most output. You never want to do it the other way around. This is how a lot of newbie real estate investors break their bank account. They'll pour in huge sums of money to secure and refurbish a property in hopes that it will sell at a higher price than when he or she bought it, but often times that's not the realistic end result. The best and most efficient way to get a lot of cash flow is to buy properties at below market value, make budget-strategic renovations to increase value and choose properties that will give high rent to purchase ratios. It may sound easy in theory but it is not easy to find properties like this. Timing and luck plays a decent part in it too. 

Only Invest In Properties That You Would Live In

This principle is difficult for many to follow but one of the more important insider tips that people don't frequently talk about. The concept is that you should never purchase a property (even for investment purposes) if you are not willing to live in it. This simple concept is based on a two-fold factor:


    • Should your investment purchase not go as planned, you may have to end up eventually living in it yourself
  1. You should not sell a product that you do not believe in


You have to be so cautious when it comes to real estate investment and the best players out there are the ones who think of every possible scenario that could occur. They leave no stone unturned and that's the secret to staying lightyears ahead of everyone else. Not only should you be weighing out all the probable positive outcomes, you should also have your exit strategies clearly laid out in the case that your investments do not work out. This kind of mentality will keep you grounded when you think of your investment properties through an objective lens. 

Location Matters. Location, Location, Location!

This is real estate investing after all. You're looking at properties in different markets and the old adage that “location matters"couldn't be more accurate when it comes to real estate investing. Before you start putting your money down for a property, make sure that it's in a good location first. How do you know what a good location is?

Ask just about any real estate agent or real estate veteran to say in one word what the most important thing in real estate is, and you'll likely hear: “Location". It was relevant in the past generation, and it's still relevant now. For starters, you can't move a property to a new location. When you purchase a property in a specific location, it's usually a solid long-term investment. Real estate professionals often advise people to buy the worst property in the best neighbourhood. Hmm, that's confusing. But Why? Quite simply, because fixing up a home in a great neighbourhood will give you the best return on your investment and make it easier to sell later on. It's a much better investment choice than to buy a stunning property that doesn't require any work but is located in a bad, sketchy, ignored neighbourhood. You will have a much harder time selling the latter property at a decent price than if you were to go with the former option.

Although certain qualities vary by market, there are general fundamentals universally for what people consider to be choice areas to live and bad areas to live.

Here are some qualities that make a location a good choice for your investment:


  • A safe neighbourhood
  • Good school districts
  • Convenient access to popular places, shops, restaurants, amenities
  • Access to ocean views, sea views, lake views - waterfronts, skylines…etc
  • Convenient access to public transportation


Location really matters in real estate. Incorporate it with the right timing on the market and you have yourself a lucky winner. 

Always Hire The Right Partners And Team Players

We recently wrote an article that focuses on why it's so important to be a team-player in real estate and how to hire the right people to build your dream team. There are few things more significant than the people you choose to work with. The real estate industry is all about networking, and collaborations. You simply can't work alone. You can try but it will seriously limit your horizons and ability to expand. First-time real estate investors need to know this. It's an underrated topic but so important if you want to succeed. You need to align yourself with honest, experienced, knowledgeable, hard-working, like-minded people who can connect and work with you to maximise gains. Working with the wrong partners and team players can cost you more than you know. Investors have found themselves stuck on the losing end of a deal more often that not, with a tarnished industry reputation, and broken bank account - when they collaborate with the wrong people.

Unless you are so gifted that you are an expert in EVERYTHING, you are going to need professional help in building your property portfolio. Pick the right partners, people you can trust, with expertise in their chosen field - that is the key to maximising your profits and offer you peace of mind during the complex process of property investing. 

Choose wisely the people who you develop a working relationship with. It can make or break your career. 

A Listing Shouldn't Sit Too Long - Why Pricing is Number 1

It's never a good sign if a property sits unsold - especially in a hot market - for weeks to months on end. Weeks is usually a sufficient max, and that's usually a sign that your property is listed too overpriced. On the other end, you don't want to appear desperate by setting the price too low or dropping the value too much. The best method to avoid this from happening is to price the home at a realistic and competitive price from the get-go. It's much better to be in a position where the seller has multiple offers than to get greedy in the beginning trying to obtain an unrealistic price - only to be forced to reduce it later. This is never a position you want to find yourself in as a real estate investor. 

Regular Inspections and Maintenance Are An Indispensable Necessity

One of the biggest mistakes real estate invests make - especially when they are working with rental properties - is neglecting to perform regular inspections and maintenances on their properties. It doesn't matter what kind of property it is really, but regular inspections and upkeep are a necessary part of keeping your real estate portfolio up to date

Always Have Your End-Goals And Strategies Laid Out

As a real estate investor - especially newbies - it's really easy to get emotionally attached to a property to get swayed by the people around you in to making deals that you don't believe are right for you. That's why it's so important to have your fundamentals down and a guidelines for certain crucial principles to follow so that you don't fall in to the common traps that others do. They key is to develop a set of tried-and-tested principles - like the ones in this article and stay focused on them. 

Fundamentals are everything. If you don't have your foundation solidly planted, you will be tossed like a dingy in the waves of the ocean. You don't want that, not when there is so much on the line. 


Be Honest 

If there is one pointer that is not often talked about, it's honesty. If you want industry people to take you seriously as a first-team investor, you have to be honest with yourself and with others. The biggest mistake that newbies make is putting up a facade and pretending that they know more than they really do. It's a sure-fire way for people to not take you seriously and in an industry where building connections and contacts is so important - you really wan to avoid creating a reputation like that. 

Don't claim to know more than you do. Don't claim that you have done deals if you haven't. Do act like you are some big-shot investor if you have no experience. Be authentic and people will gladly help you on your journey to becoming a property investor. Lies will eventually reveal themselves, so its best to be genuine and real from the start. Nobody likes a phony. 

The real estate investment community is one of the most supportive groups, primarily due to the fact that it's a relationship business and everyone realises that their next leads and deals could be coming from just about anywhere, even from someone who is brand new in the industry. 


Diversify Your Property Portfolio

Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Seriously. Especially not in real estate investing. Similar to stocks and shares, a diverse property portfolio is much more likely to weather financial turbulence than if you were to rely on a single, big gamble. The potential return on the one big property you have your eyes on may look super enticing, but if the market doesn't go your way, you are in for a serious let down and a whole lot of repercussions. 

Always remember: Diversify, Diversify, Diversify. 

It's all about managing your risks and unlocking more opportunities. Keep your eyes and ears open at all times. 

At the same time, you need to keep your expectations realistic. Like any investment, real estate property investing isn't going to just reward you with a huge payout right away. Factors like timing,  picking the wrong location can all affect the outcomes and may even lead to a catastrophic mistake. If this is your first time investing, you could consider working with an experienced mentor/partner to get your feet wet.  

Real estate investing offers the potential for amazing returns, but it is so necessary to have these important principles down first because history has shown us that people have also bankrupted themselves investing in real estate. Be sure that you know what's involved before you make the jump. 

For more guidance and help, feel free to reach out to our team at Engel & Voelkers to help you invest in your first real estate property in Hong Kong. 


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